One of the perks of running the Optical Journal is a bit of travel. Most often is to optical trade shows like Vision Expo in New York, MIDO in Milan, SILMO in Paris, opti in Munich, and when possible, Vision Expo in Las Vegas. I love the creativity that goes into the design of not only the eyewear each brand is showing but the presentation spaces companies exhibit in. Whether it is a small booth space like that of The Loft or the Lab Academy, or massive multiscreen spaces that seem to take up thousands of square feet, the imagination of the optical industry never ceases to amaze me.
I am lucky enough to be invited to a photo shoot or two as well, where the creativity of the brand owner, designer, and photographer blend to create a wonder of visuals to showcase the brand’s eyewear and brand story. Such was the case this past January, where luckily the weekend between opti Munich and MIDO Milan, Alexandra Peng, the owner/designer of TC Charton invited me once again to her latest photoshoot, this time in Nashville.
Alexandra Peng and her right hand, Bradie Husser came up with the concept of gathering Asian and African American musicians for a photo shoot in a city that is known around the world as the quintessential home of American country music, Nashville. Joined by Dean Zulich, an internationally acclaimed photographer who once again flew in for this assignment from his home in Croatia, this shoot sounded like a lot of fun, so I happily hopped on a plane to be a part of the shoot once again. While Dean captained and directed the shoot, we were joined by videographer and publicist, Julie Einiger from New York City. We were also joined by master opticians, Scott Balestreri of Bad Ass Optical Lab and Carrie Wilson, the Optigal, whose classes in opticianry are renowned. Both made sure our model/artists’ eyewear fit just perfectly. We are estimating Scott and Carrie were able to adjust and fit some 70 pairs of eyeglasses in about two hours’ time.
Our model musicians were Yvette Young (singer/guitar), Michal Majett (bass), Desmond Ng (trombone/trumpet), Tam Duong (singer/guitar), Julia Cannon (singer/guitar), and May Hwen (singer/guitar). May is not only a very talented musician but an optician and optical consultant with her own shop in Nashville, Chart Optical.
This was quite a diverse group of model musicians which exemplifies how well the TC Charton line of eyewear fits so many different people. Julia is Filipino/Black Jamaican. Desmon is Vietnamese/Mexican/Native American. May is Taiwanese/Caucasian. There were plenty of TC Charton eyeglass and sunglass frames to fit each of them perfectly.
This was not going to be an easy photo assignment. Photographing eyewear is difficult enough for most photographers. Getting the details of the design of the eyewear to show up on a model’s face is tough enough. Now add in that we are photographing real musicians, not models, who each want to play their music with the same passion we have for our eyewear. How does one show showing musicians practicing their craft while at the same time, showing the details of great eyewear? As the photos included here show, Dean was up to the task and then some.
The first day, Friday’s calendar had us meet at Nashville’s legendary Sound Emporium, where acts from Kenny Rogers, Don McClean, John Denver, Taylor Swift, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, Chris Isaak, Keith Urban, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, all recorded. We were all in awe as we took over the studio and the photos from that day certainly live up to what one would expect to see from such hallowed halls. We got to listen to wonderful medleys in between shots as each musician couldn’t help but play their heart out in this fabled studio.
The next day, Saturday had us meeting at not just any basement, but The Basement, a Nashville fixture for bands large and small. This close space made for a challenging shoot, but everyone was up for it. Our makeshift band had a great time performing together for the first time, as both models and artists, but the talent of each musician was unmistakable and a feast for both the eyes and the ears.
We finished the shoot at sunset on Nashville’s famous Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway, where Dean took photos of Yvette while crowds mingled all around us. Alexandra, Leo Zupan, and I did our best to keep a few early drinkers from jumping into the scene, quite successfully I might add.
Two days of lights, music, and eyewear will make for a great new marketing campaign for TC Charton and I was honored to once again be invited to participate. While I brought my very nice Nikon SLR, my photos are never a match for the shutter talent of Dean Zulich. It is always fun to watch professionals work their magic and those two days in January showed what magic was possible once again.
Check out the photos and the great eyewear featured in these images on a much larger scale at the TC Charton booth ( U1914) at Vision Expo East, March 17-19, and visit the TC Charton Facebook Page to see even more.